We lost Aretha Franklin from pancreatic cancer on Aug. 16 of last year. The Queen of Soul was 76 years old. However, there have been issues with her estate because she did not have a will. In addition, it is now being reported someone stole from her months before she died.
An unidentified person reportedly stole $200,000 from her bank account months before she died. Franklin filed a police report this past June but investigators did not identify a person of interest until after her death, according to TMZ.
“Prosecutors say they don’t have enough evidence to file charges against someone on just the police report … additional testimony from a witness to the crime and/or the alleged victim is needed,” TMZ wrote Thursday. “The prosecutors tell us they weren’t able to get crucial testimony from Aretha while she was alive, so they lack the evidence to confirm how the checks were accessed or whether she willingly gave the person of interest the dough.”
The case is now “on ice.”
It was unclear why Franklin never prepared a last will and testament before she died.
“I tried to convince her that she should do not just a will but a trust while she was still alive. She never told me, ‘No, I don’t want to do one.’ She understood the need. It just didn’t seem to be something she got around to,” Don Wilson, Franklin’s longtime lawyer, told the Associated Press.
Franklin’s four sons equally divided their mother’s assets under Michigan law. Her son’s range in ages 48 to 63. The eldest is represented by a guardian because he’s incapacitated. One of Franklin’s nieces agreed to serve as executor.
It’s estimated that Franklin’s wealth was in the tens of millions. She had ownership of the songs she wrote. The lion’s share of royalties for the smash hit “Respect” has gone to the songwriter, the estate of soul singer Otis Redding. She also owned several properties in the Detroit area with an estimated market value of about $4 million, according to the AP.
Meanwhile, the Internal Revenue Service is keeping a careful eye on things. The IRS will collect any back taxes Franklin owed and tax her estate 40 percent for assets exceeding $11.2 million. As of December, she reportedly owed more than $3 million in back taxes but the estate has been repaying them since Franklin’s death.